full text File Size: 81 K bytes | Add this to my bookbag

Collection Inventory

Series V. Campaign for United States Congress, 1966

Scope and Content Notes:

"Because of the depleted state of the local party and my persistent inquisitiveness about how to improve the community and help solve its problems, party official approached me to run for mayor of Pittsburgh. And although I begged off at that time, I was nevertheless hooked on politics and did succumb to the 1966 congressional campaign" ("From Star Car to the Governor's Office," JFK School Bulletin, Fall, Winter, 1987).

And so it was in 1966, Thornburgh made his first run for public office as a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress from Pittsburgh's Fourteenth Congressional District, wholly contained within the City of Pittsburgh, and where Democrat registered voters outnumbered Republicans by over 3:1. Thornburgh faced running against William S. Moorhead, Jr., who was the four-year Democrat incumbent who had won election easily twice before. As stated in his book, "Ginny and I had no particular issues on which to challenge Moorhead and no illusions about our ability to win the seat. We knew, however, that we had to test our interest in running for public office" ( Evidence, p. 25).

This was a lonely endeavor at the start when news of Thornburgh for Congress, delivered to Pittsburgh's two newspapers, the Post Gazette and Press, merited small mentions, in one case not even mentioning Thornburgh's name in the headline: "Lawyer Seeking Moorhead Seat." Most of spring of 1966 was spent attending various Republican ward meetings and soliciting endorsements. On Primary Day, May 17, Thornburgh, in what he describes as a "smashing victory," corralled 78% of the meager Republican turnout, but as he further states "the greater challenge lay ahead" ("Evidence" draft, p. 106).

By Primary Day the campaign, now chaired by John Heinz, had come together quite well. Finances were handled smoothly and a group of volunteer supporters provided a strong research team. Briefing books were prepared on issues of importance, and ultimately a compendium of positions was put together including topics such as: hard line against organized crime and official corruption, concern for the elderly, urban problems, strong civil rights position, support for United Nations, conservative fiscal policies, transportation issues, job training, improved public education, and concern about Vietnam. It is notable that many, even most, of these topics of concern in 1966 recurred in Thornburgh's continued career and are well documented in the archives.

The General Election campaign included attending a three-day candidates' conference sponsored by the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington. Of interest is that another "rookie" challenging a Democrat incumbent and attending this conference was President George H.W. Bush. The fall was busy with events and campaign appearances. Travel around the district was by what became known at the "Star Car," a clunker Rambler station wagon. There were three debates between Moorhead and Thornburgh, and Ginny Thornburgh energetically master-minded a dedicated volunteer organization. These were the times of door-to-door canvassing of voters, handing out emery boards and calorie counters with "Thornburgh for Congress," and billboards picturing Thornburgh holding a large wooden spoon entitled "Thornburgh Will Stir Things Up in Congress."

Despite all the hard work, solid research, and dedicated volunteer activity, ultimately Thornburgh lost to William Moorhead on Election Day, 82,732 to 38,528. As Thornburgh concludes in his book: "All, of course, was not for naught. Ginny and I discovered how much we actually enjoyed the campaign process - meeting and mingling with the voters, puzzling through our positions on difficult issues, and feeling that there was indeed a way to make a difference for the better in people's lives" ( Evidence, p. 30). Even the Post Gazette noted "In Mr. Thornburgh the GOP has presented an exceptionally attractive candidate of the sort who should be encouraged to run for public office. While he did not pick the right office at the right time, we hope he will be encouraged to stay active in politics so that the public can avail itself of his services on another occasion" ("Evidence" draft, p. l14).

Researchers should take note that issue background material here relates and interconnects with other Pittsburgh and Allegheny County reports and articles in these other sections of the archive: "Civic Activities," "Politics," and "Constitutional Convention." These campaign archives are organized in nine sections: "Campaign Plans and Ephemera," "Issues and Position Papers," "Opposition Research," "News Releases and Media," "Campaign Volunteer Effort," "Candidate Thornburgh's Files," "Election Results," "Campaign Finances," and "Correspondence."

Subseries 1. Campaign Plans and Ephemera

Scope and Content Notes:

These files are arranged in five sections: GOP candidate information, campaign plans, campaign headquarters, Thornburgh for Congress, and campaign mailings. The "GOP candidate files" include materials on the '66 Democrat candidates, supplied by the Republican National Committee. "Campaign plans" include information gathered on voters, polling places and congressional districts. "Campaign headquarters" provides information on the headquarters opening, includes campaign correspondence and even the flower covered guest registry. "Thornburgh for Congress" includes materials that relate to the campaign kick-off and progression, as well as campaign ephemera. "Campaign mailings" consist of correspondence and mailings to and from the Thornburgh campaign headquarters.

Section: GOP Candidate Information


Box 22
Folder 1 Republican National Committee Candidates Information 1966
Folder 2 Republican National Committee Fact Book 1966 Election Campaign 1966
Folder 3 1966 Candidates Conference June 29, 1966 - July 12, 1966

Section: Campaign Plans

Folder 4 Fourteenth Congressional District of Pennsylvania 1966
Folder 5 Campaign References (published reports) (annotated) 1966
Folder 6 Allegheny County GOP and Voter Data 1966
Folder 7 Campaign Binder: County Analysis 1966
Folder 8 Fourteenth Congressional District: Analysis and Statistics 1966
Folder 9 Polling Places 1966

Section: Campaign Headquarters

Folder 10 Open House June 13, 1966
Folder 11 Opening September 12, 1966
Folder 12 Correspondence 1966
Folder 13 Guest Registry 1966

Section: Thornburgh for Congress

Folder 14 Thornburgh for Congress Announcement February 1966
Folder 15 Thornburgh's Biography 1966
Folder 16 Thornburgh for Congress Committee 1966
Folder 17 Fourteenth Congressional District Campaign Kick-off Rally April 13, 1966
Folder 18 Endorsements of Thornburgh for Congress 1966
Folder 19 Schedules, Invitations and Event Material 1966
Folder 20 Editorial Fall, 1966
Folder 21 Thornburgh address for Republican Nomination for U.S. Congress in the 14th Congressional District April 13, 1966

Section: Campaign Political Binder [New Material Added], 1966


Box 1010
Folder 41 Early campaign plans, January-February 1966
Folder 42 Campaign Expense Plan, January 1966
Folder 43 Campaign in Progress, January-October 1966
Folder 44 Volunteer canvasing, September 1966
Folder 45 American Institute for Research Plans, March-May 1966
Folder 46 American Institute for Research Plans: Survey, July 1966
Folder 47 Issue Poll Data, 1966
Folder 48 Issue Poll Research, 1966
Folder 49 Miscellaneous, 1966

Section: Ephemera


Box 22
Folder 22 Ephemera 1966
Folder 23 Ephemera 1966

Section: Campaign Mailings

Folder 24 Pittsburgh Letterheads 1966
Folder 25 Pittsburgh Letterheads 1966
Folder 26 Addresses for campaign mailings, form letters, correspondence 1966
Folder 27 GOP Mailings 1966

Subseries 2. Issues and position papers

Scope and Content Notes:

Thornburgh delivered twelve position papers on topics of concern to voters. In addition to the issued papers, and drafts, there are binders and folders of research materials designed for debate preparation and issue discussions. Several more folders were added to this subseries in July 2013.


Box 23
Folder 1-3 Issue References (published materials) (annotated); some with historical material pre 1966 1966
Folder 4 Position papers (bound copy) November, 1966
Folder 5 Position Paper #1: Help for the Aged October 10, 1966
Folder 6 Position Paper #2: We Need Better Law Enforcement October 13, 1966
Folder 7 Position Paper #3: Pittsburgh Can Solve its Transportation Problems October 18, 1966
Folder 8 Position Paper #4: A Better Way for Urban Renewal October 20, 1966
Folder 9 Position Paper #5: Education: Top Priority October 24, 1966
Folder 10 Position Paper #6: Vietnam as a Subject for Concern and Debate October 28, 1966
Folder 11 Position Paper #7: Civil Rights October 30, 1966
Folder 12 Position Paper #8: International Trade: When it Helps, When it Hurts October 31, 1966
Folder 13 Position Paper #9: Problems of Foreign Policy November 1, 1966
Folder 14 Position Paper #10: Economic Problems November 2, 1966
Folder 15 Position Paper #11: Poverty Programs Should Help the Poor, Not the Politicians November 3, 1966
Folder 16 Position Paper #12: Labor Problems November 4, 1966
Folder 17 Political and legal newsletters regarding the Thornburgh campaign 1966
Folder 18-19 Research Binder: Issues (annotated) 1966
Folder 20 Research Plans, Drafts and Memos 1966
Folder 21 Question and Answer Session (annotated) August 27, 1966
Folder 22 Neighborhood Youth Corps (annotated) 1966
Folder 23 Moorhead Debate 1966
Folder 24 The League of Women Voters Questionnaire (annotated) 1966
Folder 25 Scranton/Shafer Administration Accomplishments September 7, 1966

Section: [New Material Added]


Box 1010
Folder 12 Urban Renewal and Housing, 1966
Folder 13 Mainland China, 1966
Folder 14 Labor Management, 1966
Folder 15 Economy, 1966
Folder 16 Europe Foreign Policy, 1966
Folder 17 Education, 1966
Folder 18 Health Care, 1966
Folder 19 Water Pollution, 1966
Folder 20 Poverty, 1966
Folder 21 Foreign Policy, 1966
Folder 22 Foreign Policy: South America, 1966
Folder 23 International Trade/Balance of Payments, 1966
Folder 24 Aging, 1966

Subseries 3. Opposition research

Scope and Content Notes:

Thornburgh's team carefully researched the various candidates for Congress, including their campaign materials, particularly about Thornburgh's general election opponent, William Moorhead. Several more folders were added to this subseries in July 2013.


Box 23
Folder 26 Miscellaneous Candidates 1966
Folder 27 William Moorhead Opposition Research (annotated) 1966-1969
Folder 28 "Your Senator's Report," Transcripts of radio broadcasts with Senators Hugh Scott (R) and Joseph Clark (D) March, 1965-October,1966
Folder 29 Voters Guides 1966

Section: [New Material Added]


Box 1010
Folder 25 Housing/Urban Renewal, 1966
Folder 26 Banking, 1966
Folder 27 Taxation, 1966
Folder 28 Public Health, 1966
Folder 29 Defense, 1966
Folder 30 Foreign Policy, 1966
Folder 31 War on Poverty, 1966
Folder 32 Education, 1966
Folder 33 Mass Transit, 1966
Folder 34 Voting Record Compared, 1966
Folder 35 Disarmament, 1966
Folder 36 Firearms, 1966
Folder 37 Conservation, 1966
Folder 38 National Humanities Foundation, 1966
Folder 39 Civil Rights, 1966
Folder 40 Labor Management, 1966

Subseries 4. News releases and media

Scope and Content Notes:

These items are arranged chronologically and cover the dates February 12, 1966 - November 7, 1966. These reflect campaign debates, personal appearances and endorsements and are available here online. The media files relate both to the Thornburgh campaign efforts to gain media coverage as well as collections of newspaper clippings regarding the campaign.


Box 23
Folder 30 Media Campaign (annotated) 1966
Folder 31 News Releases (annotated) February 12, 1966 - October 18, 1966
Folder 32 News Releases October 20, 1966 - 1967
Folder 33 News Releases (bound copy) 1966
Folder 34 Campaign Clips (annotated) 1965-1967

Subseries 5. Campaign volunteer effort

Scope and Content Notes:

Materials include individual volunteer instructional materials as well as extensive information reflecting the entire volunteer effort. Ginny Thornburgh was primarily responsible for this grassroots support and the files include her volunteer records and the binders that she created to track volunteer activities throughout the Fourteenth District. One of the sad moments associated with the campaign was a fire at campaign headquarters in the wee hours of the morning after Election Day. In the pouring rain the Thornburghs rushed there especially to rescue the volunteer files, only to find the gutter awash with their invaluable 3"x 5" cards.


Box 24
Folder 1 Ginny Thornburgh Campaign File 1966
Folder 2 Ginny Thornburgh Door-to-Door Canvass File 1966
Folder 3 Door-to-Door Canvassing 1966
Folder 4 Sample Canvass Kit for Area Chairmen 1966
Folder 5 Campaign Volunteer Instructions 1966
Folder 6 Campaign Volunteers 1966
Folder 7 Binder: 14th Congressional District Door-to-Door Canvass Chairmen and Volunteers: Areas I-XV 1966
Folder 8 Binder: 14th Congressional District Door-to-Door Canvass Chairmen and Volunteers: Areas XVI-XXX 1966

Subseries 6. Thornburgh's files

Scope and Content Notes:

These consist of items that Thornburgh kept close at hand during the campaign, and include his campaign and speech notes, and personal campaign files. As is typical for him, much of this material is handwritten and/or annotated and reflects his thinking as well as his actions as candidate.


Box 24
Folder 9 Campaign Notes (annotated) 1966
Folder 10 Thornburgh's Personal Congressional Campaign File: notes, strategy and issue research (annotated) 1966
Folder 11 Thornburgh's General Congressional Campaign File: notes, issue research, correspondence and ephemera (annotated) 1966
Folder 12 Speech and annotated Speech Notes 1966

Subseries 7. Election results

Scope and Content Notes:

Election results from both the Primary and the General Election are here. Also included is a report written about the unsuccessful Thornburgh campaign: "The Broken Spoon: a study in failure" by Jeffrey A. Ernico, a Pitt student and campaign volunteer. The title refers to the photograph widely used in Thornburgh campaign literature and billboards of Thornburgh standing next to a giant wooden spoon with the slogan "Dick Thornburgh will stir things up in Congress."


Box 24
Folder 13 Primary Election Results 1966
Folder 14 General Election Results 1966
Folder 15 "The Broken Spoon: A Study in Failure," by Jeffrey A. Ernico 1966

Subseries 8. Campaign finances

Scope and Content Notes:

The bulk of the materials here relates to the campaign budget and contributions and is arranged chronologically.


Box 24
Folder 16 Thornburgh for Congress Committee: Financial Matters (annotated) 1966
Folder 17 Contributions: Alphabetical Copies of Letters 1966
Folder 18 Lists of Contributors from Various Organizations (annotated) 1966
Folder 19 Form Letters Regarding Contributions 1966
Folder 20 Campaign Budget 1966

Subseries 9. Correspondence

Scope and Content Notes:

Correspondence in these folders, arranged chronologically, covers the campaign effort. The correspondence is separated as follows: pre-primary, post-primary, pre-election and post-election. Correspondence is to and from voters, peers, co-workers, and constituents.


Box 25
Folder 1 1966 GOP Candidates and Ward Chairmen Letters 1966
Folder 2-5 Thornburgh's Campaign Correspondence 1966
Folder 6 Correspondence from Voters 1966
Folder 7 Post Election Lists for Thank You Letters 1966
Folder 8 Post Election Thank You Letters 1966